Commuter tales


Perhaps ironically given a story in yesterday’s Herald-Sun about public transport causing stress, I got a bit narky on the train yesterday morning when a gaggle of De La Salle boys started mucking about with the train doors at Caulfield.

With apparently no consideration for the other thousand people on the train, they blocked the doors from closing not once, but twice. I had images in my mind of that night in Ormond when the drunk man doing the same thing eventually caused the train to go out of service, and all the passengers to be kicked off. Gawd knows why the damn doors on the Siemens trains are so sensitive, but this time I got proactive.

“Guys, leave the doors alone!”

A brief squeal of blame-laying and finger-pointing between them, but they left the doors alone after that and we were on our way.

For all that, I don’t really believe PT is that stressful. It’s entirely subjective of course, but I reckon the feeling of a cancelled or packed train is more one of despair than stress — unless you’re running late. But I find being stuck in traffic when in a hurry to be far more stressful. On rare occasions I’ve found myself close to road rage when in a rush and stuck behind slow drivers.

As for the physical health benefits, nobody can question the health benefits from walking to and from the station/stop. All helps contribute to daily exercise. There’s also been research that suggests you pick up a lot more pollutants from cars by being inside them than outside them — not to mention the indirect benefits of living in a less-polluted city.

But anyway…


Carriage 5 of the 9:13 from Glenhuntly to the city was pretty crowded due to a car vs train accident on an adjacent line. But we were managing okay; Sardine Index 7, perhaps.

Then just out of Malvern, squealing from most of the (female) occupants of a set of six seats. Some of them actually climbed onto the seats, others vacated. I think they said it was a cicada on the loose. The giggling and chatting about it lasted into the city — one of the more pleasant and amusing recent communal PT moments.

Can’t wait to see what happens tomorrow.

And before you ask, I doubt the cicada had a ticket, but it was probably under four years old and didn’t need one. (Though whether it had a parent or guardian with it, I don’t know.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

5 replies on “Commuter tales”

The study found the best methods to beat commuter stress were, in order: Singing, humming or talking to yourself; planning postwork fun; cognitive work such as reading or writing or listening to a talking book CD; admiring attractive people; professional counselling; listening to music; chewing gum; drinking alcohol or praying.,23599,22595530-2,00.html

My morning train was canceled, so I got a lift to Huntingdale, couldn’t get on 5 trains, eventual train was a Sardine Index of 10 and total time from origin station to work was over 1.5 hours.

Funny PT moment was at South Yarra when guy in suit scolded people for not “moving down” and entire train started laughing. Suit then realised Sardine Index was higher than he thought, “Oh”.

I’ve occasionally asked people to move down, but I’ve always checked they had somewhere to move first! One time the reply came from someone I know… “OK Daniel, just for you!”

Actually, it will be more than 4 years old, because cicadas apparently spend about 17 years underground as an egg and then larvae, before coming up to the surface for a few days, to mate and then die.

I find as soon as you put a connecting service in the mix the trip becomes a lot more stressful.

I prefer to ride my bike to work, takes half the time of PT anyway….

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